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German F3 teen driver tweets after 7-hour surgery

German F3 driver Sophia Flörsch underwent a seven-hour surgery on her cervical vertebrae Monday after her horror crash at the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday, tweeting in German last night that the surgery went well without complication.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 8:16 am

German F3 driver Sophia Flörsch underwent a seven-hour surgery on her cervical vertebrae Monday after her horror crash at the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday, tweeting in German last night that the surgery went well without complication.

The 17-year-old said in her latest tweet that the medical team had deliberately worked slowly on the surgery to reduce any risks.

Her tweet was followed by a press conference held by the public Conde de Sao Januario Hospital Centre where she had her surgery about her condition as well as others who were injured during the annual motorsports event.

The press conference was led by the hospital’s clinical director Lei Wai Seng, as well as Orthopaedic Department chief Lao Wai Lit and orthopaedic consultant Chan Hong Mou who both led the surgical team.

Lei said that Flörsch suffered a spinal fracture due to a compression of her spinal canal, and after being made aware of the risks, her family and her racing team agreed for her to undergo minimal invasive spinal stabilisation surgery at the hospital.

Lei said that since intraoperative nerve monitoring was required for the surgery and they needed to obtain bone to replace it in her vertebra, the surgery took longer than expected, which initially was four to five hours.

According to Lei, the surgery was completed in roughly seven hours, which included a wake-up test that took an hour. He said that her vitals were stable and that she was able to move her four limbs, adding that she still needed to stay in hospital for observation for another week or two.

Flörsch’s freak accident happened during the F3 race on Sunday when her car hurtled into two photographers and a marshal after flying off the track.

Dramatic footage captured gasps from the crowd as the Van Amersfoort Racing driver’s car flew through the air and into safety netting at the Guia Circuit’s Lisboa Bend.

Running 16th, she apparently lost control in a contact down to the straight, launched off a kerb and bounced off Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi’s car.

Her crash also involved four other patients.

A statement from the hospital said that a 34-year-old local man who worked as a Macau Grand Prix marshal, suffered a facial fracture and scalp laceration, which doctors have treated, and he will remain hospitalised for another three to four days for observation.

A 25-year-old male photographer assistant from the mainland sustained a liver laceration after having been hit by a hard object. Although he doesn’t require surgery, the statement said that he needed to stay in the hospital for up to 10 more days to ensure he recovers from the injury.

Tsuboi left hospital on Sunday after a thorough examination confirmed that he had not been injured in the accident.

A 51-year-old Japanese photographer who had sustained a minor concussion left the hospital after spending the night there.

Meanwhile, Jean Todt, president of the International Motoring Federation (FIA), said in a statement Monday the ruling body would investigate the crash. The federation “is mobilised to help those involved and analyse what happened,” he tweeted, adding, “We will monitor the situation and make the necessary conclusions”.

Frits van Amersfoort, the principal of Flörsch’s team, told the BBC that the German teen was travelling at around 276 kph at the time of the crash. “It was nearly a rocket. Surviving was incredible”, he said, adding, “I haven’t seen all accidents in motorsport but this was surely one of the worst I’ve ever seen.”

In addition, two motorbike riders – Andrew Dudgeon a 30-year-old Briton who was admitted to hospital on Thursday with lumbar fracture had surgery on the same day and is recovering at the hospital, while Ben Wylie, a 35-year-old Briton who was taken to hospital on Saturday with neck and chest fractures and left shoulder joint dislocation and fracture. The dislocation was treated immediately and he went into surgery on Sunday.

The statement said that Wylie was still in intensive care unit (ICU) for observation Monday but his condition was stable and that he could be transferred to the general ward today.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 8:16 am

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